An analysis has found that youth with HIV have lower rates of viral suppression than the over-24 age group, despite similar rates of enrolment into medical care.
Data were analysed from the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), a network of sites dedicated to the health and care of the young with and at risk of HIV. The Strategic Multisite Initiative for the Identification, Linkage and Engagement in Care of Youth (SMILE) Collaborative is a network of clinics at each ATN site offering diagnostic and referral services to treatment facilities.
Of 1,411 youths (aged 12-24 years) enrolled, 75 per cent were enrolled into care, 34 per cent remained in care and began antiretroviral treatment, and 12 per cent attained viral suppression after a median time of nearly five months. Those who were enrolled 1-6 six weeks after diagnosis were 2.5 times more likely to achieve viral suppression, compared to those enrolled after three months. This compares to between 32 and 63 per cent for adults in the same time frame.
The authors stress that there is an urgency for tailored HIV interventions to ensure adherence. These measures should include enlisting trained peer counsellors and maintaining frequent contact with youth through text and social media.